The Navajo Code Talkers: How Native American languages were used as uncrackable codes in World War II

TLDR Native American languages, including Navajo, were used as military codes during World War II due to their complexity, lack of understanding by other groups, and absence of written resources. The Navajo code talkers played a vital role in the Pacific Theater, and their program remained secret until it was declassified in 1968.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 During World War II, the US military used Native American languages as a code that couldn't be cracked by the enemy.
01:34 During World War I, an American Army officer realized that the Choctaw language could be used as a code that the Germans couldn't understand, leading to the successful execution of a withdrawal by two companies in the 2nd Battalion just before the end of the war.
02:43 Philip Johnston, who grew up in the Navajo Nation and knew the Navajo language, proposed using Navajo as a military code because it was complex, not understood by other Native American groups, little known outside the Navajo Nation, and had no written resources, and the US Marine Corps agreed to a pilot program after a successful demonstration.
03:59 Navajo recruits created a code based on the Navajo language using English words that started with the corresponding letter of the alphabet, as well as developing hundreds of words for commonly used terms and phrases.
05:13 The Navajo code talkers were only used in the Pacific Theater and proved vital in battles such as Guadacanal, Pellilu, Guam, Iwojima, and Saipan, with Major Howard Conner stating that without them, the Marines would never have taken Iwojima.
06:24 The Navajo code talkers program continued during the Korean conflict and was eventually phased out in the early 1960s, with the entire program remaining secret until it was declassified in 1968, and recognition of the code talkers was belated but eventually acknowledged with President Ronald Reagan naming August 14th, 1982 as Navajo Code Talkers Day and President Bill Clinton signing a law in 2000 that awarded medals to the code talkers.
07:43 Code talking was not limited to the Navajo language, as there were 14 Native American languages used for code talking during the war, including Comanche, and in 2008, code talkers from both World Wars and from every Native American tribe were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
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